Archive for the ‘The press’ Category

Cash for Coverage

Posted: January 18, 2016 in African emancipation, Media, The press

Revolution will not be televised.jpg

In developing countries, more people trust the media than their governments; this is from a past report based on a ten-country opinion poll for the BBC, Reuters, and The Media Center. For instance, people in the US have a 67% trust on their governance against the media, unlike developing countries like Nigeria where they trust the media 88% versus 34% on the government.

Which got me contemplative, just how innocent is the media in the face of its public? How much should we discern what we read and see? The hard reality is that there are more than a few cases of journalists accepting money from people or agencies which they’ve interviewed, or are doing stories about. An extreme issue for the profession and quite a raw deal for the unsuspecting public. Ethics versus survival, it seems difficult for many to take the high road, especially when, “everybody else does it….”

Indeed, it is a single problem with many faces that would need a communal approach: How do we collectively salvage ourselves from this deep rooted culture of corruption (that is not just unique to Africa)? What can we do better or more assertively to address this dark side of journalism?

…. Cash For Coverage discusses: http://bit.ly/1Je3mq6 Enjoy Your Read!

On March 16, she lost her husband. Then she lost everything. The deceased family shaved her off her husband’s house and 2-acre piece of land. The recent spates of events that followed 23-year old Lucy Nyambura after the mysterious death of 30-year old Gabriel Ng’ang’a arouses the debate of property inheritance. (Read full story)

The story of Nyamabura’s predicament, published by The Standard Media 25 March 2014 is not a uniquely Kenyan case. Women’s right to inherit land and other property is brutally limited in many parts of Africa. At a man’s death, his property is either inherited by his adult sons or reclaimed by his family.

Discriminatory customary laws and cultural attitudes and practices are used to justify the disinheritance of widows and beseeched to outweigh constitutional provisions to inherit.

Inheritance in Kenya is guided by the Law of Succession Act Cap 160 of the Laws of Kenya.

Under this Act, a person may either die testate or intestate. “A person dies testate when he has made a valid will on how his property should be distributed on his death. A person dies intestate when he has not made a will on how his property will be distributed on his death or his will has been invalidated,” explains John Chigiti, Senior partner in the firm of Chigiti & Chigiti Advocates.

In the case of intestacy (when no will is stated), the Law of Succession Act sets out how the deceased´s property should devolve. A surviving spouse is entitled to the personal and household effects of the deceased, and a life interest in the whole residue of the net intestate estate; however, if the surviving spouse is a widow, and she re-marries, then her life interest is terminated. The surviving spouse has power to give all or any part of the capital of the net intestate estate to any surviving children of the deceased.

Realizing Women’s Right to Land, a new publication by UNWOMEN warns that denial of inheritance rights to women is detrimental in the long run. Denial of inheritance rights to women results descent of millions of women and their families into extreme poverty and is a major cause and consequence of violence against women in Africa.

Almost two disasters of significant proportions are recorded every week in Africa since 2000. (UNISDR)

The number of people exposed to floods in in Sub-Saharan grew from 500,000 per year in 1970 to almost 2 million per year in 2010. A new UN report, Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR 2011) reveals.

“Around 400 million people in the region live below the poverty line, and 200 million are considered to be under-nourished. Income poverty and food insecurity play a major role in land degradation, as the poor and hungry are forced to over-exploit natural resources to meet their immediate needs for survival,” UNISDR.

More so, the Media has always been the vanguard of providing information in the event and the aftermath of these disasters, be it droughts, floods, landslides etc. The challenge posed is: If the need to communicate is most pressing at a time of disaster, just how much more is it in preventing that disaster?

Disaster reduction as opposed to disaster response evades unnecessary and costly loss of both lives and property. For this reason, disaster risk management should be considered as an investment for any country, and the media can ascertain to this only if they change their manner of reporting disasters.

The Gar 11 further reveals that that disaster risk is an investment to any country drawing several examples.

New York

“New York has chosen an alternative: instead of spending US $6.8 billion in conventional pipe and tank improvements, it has decided to invest US$5.3 billion in green infrastructure – permeable pavements, more green areas, and other measures to address its problem of drainage capacity. Green infrastructure acts like a sponge – absorbing and regulating peak water flows.

Brazil to India

Countries from Brazil to India have shown that mechanisms designed to address structural poverty can be used to stop disaster prone households from sliding into poverty by providing a buffer. These programmes reach out to millions of households (12 million households in Brazil reached with only one programme – Bolsa Familia) and can be adapted at relatively low additional costs. The government has only last week announced that it wants to expand this programme (mid-June 2011).

Chile Earthquake

For example, after the 2010 Chile earthquake and tsunami, the Chilean Government extended payments from the country’s social assistance programmes, Chile Solidario and Programa Puente, to households affected by the February 2010 earthquake, whether they were structurally poor or not.”

“Greater public awareness can translate into greater government accountability” (HFA Mid-Term Review 2010-2011).  More coverage is thus needed to sensitize the public and influence policy underlying issues that affect the economy such as the direct correlation between disaster-related economic losses and the limited investment in risk management particularly at the local level.